Someone definitely dropped the ball at ESPN.
Over the weekend, IMG Academy, a high school football powerhouse out of Florida that usually produces top prospects that go on to play in top colleges and eventually in the NFL, beat the brakes off a clearly outmatched Bishop Sycamore team, a school, nobody, has ever heard of.
Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal because everyone shouldn’t know all of the high schools across the nation, but this story is turning out to be quite the doozy. Bishop Sycamore was not only outmatched but got destroyed 58-0, causing people to wonder how in the world this unknown “school” from Ohio got on television in a nationally broadcasted game in the first place. Even ESPN’s own broadcast team was confused.
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Well, there was a reason. Thanks to Awful Announcing’s reporting, it’s looking like Bishop Sycamore isn’t actually a legit “school” at all. According to Max Preps, Bishop Sycamore is an “online-only charter school” based in Columbus, Ohio, SB Nation reports. When you visit the school’s “website,” there is no mention of education programs, and the “about us” page is blank. But, there is a blog that only helps football players get noticed by recruiters.
The school is not even listed in the directory of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The only way people know it exists is because of the football team.
But what is even more alarming about this situation is that Bishop Sycamore also played in a game on Friday (Aug.27) against Sto-Rox High School in Pennsylvania, losing 19-7. So that means that an “online school” finessed ESPN by claiming it has top-caliber athletes so it can play two games in three days, one of those games being against the best team in the country. That’s a huge no-no, especially because it puts the kids in danger. Ben Koo of Awful Announcing discovered the foolishness after watching both games.
That’s not all either, the team’s head coach reportedly has an active warrant out for his arrest, and most of the players were “junior college dropouts” and were” nowhere near high school age.”
ESPN has since issued a statement to Koo after this situation unraveled:
“We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling. They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward.”
This is very concerning and brings to attention just how easy it was for an “online school” to even get on the field of a nationally televised football game.
Check out some of the best reactions to the news below: